What are the Key priority areas to make gender and biodiversity management a success?
Gender inclusivity is key to the success of the UN agenda on biodiversity management.
Whereas, Gender equality is a Sustainable Development Goal on its own, it forms a baseline on the development and implementation of other SDGs like Zero hunger, No poverty and most importantly, Climate action. UNICEF pointed out that in Southern Africa for example, many children across the region are raised by female caregivers, and many do not have active contact with their fathers, thus, due to differentiated gender treatment most girls face the challenges of early pregnancies and marriages increases the rate of school dropout as compared to their male counter parts. This is a common occurrence across Africa, most specifically in the poor and vulnerable communities e.g. urban poor and nomadic communities.
Therefore, to effectively address gender and biodiversity management within the UN system, key thematic priority areas identified which are fully cognizant of the fact that women are more disadvantaged compared to their male counterparts in addressing biodiversity conservation and management, that is;
1. Women's Equal access, ownership and control, in relation to biodiversity management, including but not restricted to land tenure systems and resource ownership and ability to control biodiversity resources.
2. Ensure women benefit from management of biodiversity resources, including economic opportunities and benefits like employment, including benefits from protected areas.
3. Biodiversity policy, planning and programing decisions to address the needs of women and girls as well as men and boys, where women and girls can compete equally with men and boys.
Important to note, is that the above thematic areas assume that women and girls are more disadvantaged than their men and boys counterparts, which, might necessarily not be true. For instance, UNICEF observes that most gender-equitable programming targets girls and young women specifically as leaders and beneficiaries, while enlisting boys and men as supporters for change. Yet, it is very evident in poor communities, boys also face gender issues. These include recruitment into armed forces, early workforce exploitation, higher malnutrition levels in some age groups, and the impact of being brought up to adopt negative masculine stereotypes – for example, the acceptance of male violence as a method of control.
By such, gender and biodiversity management should consider both Women and girls, and equitably to their men and boys counterparts within the UN systems.